I've always thought that 18th and 19th C. wrought iron belonged, with early lighting, in a separate category. Crafted largely of wrought and tinned iron and brass, the products of
early metalsmiths were designed for use but infused with personal style. They furnished
the kitchen, equipped the hearth, provided the light and made life in the colonies possible. Today these same pieces make life enjoyable as well. We'll bring you the best we can
find and we guarantee their authenticity.
Halsey Munson Americana
204 North Summit Avenue
Decatur, Illinois 62522
All rights reserved.
Signed and Dated Traveling Lantern
Signed and dated mid-19th C. traveling candle lantern in original asphaltum surface. Open, 3” square and 5” high. Folded, 3” x 2” x ¾”. Mica windows, swiveling candle socket, even a rack for extra candles and matches. An identical lantern now in the Ford Museum is shown on p. 193 of Antiques Treasury.
Intact 19th C. American Candle Box
19th C. American hanging candle box with hinges, hasp and catch all original. Wire-rolled edges on the lid, convex ends with crimped seams. 10 ½”L. The black paint is quite old, probably the 2nd half of the 19th C., but I don’t think it’s original. I think it was applied when rust spots appeared on the surface of the tinned sheet iron. The edges of the hanger tabs are wire-rolled as well, the punched holes have excellent wear, and unusual oval soldered braces support the angle of the tabs.
Signed 18th C. Box Wax Jack
One of the less common forms of 18th C. wax jack. Most are much more elaborate with spring-loaded jaws and embellished columns. This is a simple box wax jack that probably would have sat on a desk; a canister with a lid mounting the equivalent of a candle socket. The wax snake is contained in the base and pulled up through the candle socket as it burned low. Typically, these provided the wax to seal letters and other documents. For the sake of accuracy there is denting to the loop handle. 3½”H x 3”W.
The Best Bed Warmer I've Ever Seen
Extraordinary early to mid-18th C. bed warming pan in brass, copper and forged iron. The pan’s copper alloy lid is decorated in raised brass with a 5-spoke pinwheel, butterflies between the spokes, in the center a horse with one hoof raised, all enclosed within an embossed rope-patterned rim. The lid is densely pierced with circles, hearts and birds. Forged iron throat, smoke-blackened turned walnut handle, hammered brass pan apparently dovetailed then skimmed. The pan was repaired at the rim and at the hinge at some point with heavy copper and brass rivets. 48”L and 13” in diameter. Without even a close second, this is the best and probably also the earliest warming pan I’ve ever seen. Dutch or French, ca. 1700-1750. $1,450
Early 19th C. Chamberstick
Ca. 1825-1830 heavy brass chamberstick with accompanying witch’s hat douter. Seamed construction with wire-rolled rim and original lifter tab. Mellow oxidized surface, perfect condition. England. 5¾”H.
Polychrome Delft Candle Lantern
Rare 19th C. Delft candle lantern in underglaze polychrome decoration. Original glass in all three windows. Part of metal door latch missing. No breaks or cracks and very little fritting. Excellent condition overall. 8½” to the roof peak, 4½” square.
Pair of American Sheet Iron
One of the most sought but least often found examples of early lighting is a pair of authentic 19th C. American tinned sheet iron candle sconces. In my opinion, less than 10% of those on the market are genuine. And the percentage of honest mirrored wall sconces is probably half that. The pair above are exceptional not only because they are what they pretend to be, but also because of their distinctive design details, which separate them from the classic tinned iron candle sconces made in Guilford, CT by a father and son team of tinsmiths in the early 19th C. Although the reflecting back plates are similar to those in size (8¼”), the support arms are dramatically deeper to allow for the height of the unusually tall candle sockets with folded rims. The condition is excellent, although one sconce shows one spot of re-soldering. New England, ca. 1800-1840 $895
Rare Tole Painted 10”
Sheet Iron Candle Holder
Unusual, tall 10” tole painted sheet iron candle holder with a 6½” crimped base, a 3” crimped drip pan, under a candle socket with folded rim, and a gracefully scrolled sheet iron handle. This general form was typically used for an Ipswitch betty or an open pan lamp. I’m irresistibly drawn to the exceptional and this is the only example I can recall made to accept a wax candle. Inside the base, and much worn from repeated cleanings, a pair of Berlin, CT-style green and salmon painted flower heads are still visible, encircled by the same salmon teardrop brush strokes that rim the drip pan above. Excellent condition with a minor perforation rust on the base. CT, ca. 1800-1850.
Possible American Wrought Iron
Excellent pair of 18th C. wrought iron pipe or ember tongs. American or English, but given their weight and style of construction, quite likely American. Made by a skilled smith, the details are subtle and simple, but elegant. The tapering arms have precisely matching twistwork passages and end in leaf-shaped jaws with in-rolled tips to better grip the glowing coal on its way to the pipe. Boxed hinge with internal pivot, tamper stud and rattail hanger hook. 16½”L. A small group of similar pipe tongs were sold when the Sorber collection of early American iron went to auction in 2005.
Tall Sand-Weighted Candleholder
Sheet iron with sand-weighted base and pushup to adjust candle height. The form is unusual, especially in tinned sheet iron. The purpose of such tall candle sticks remains a subject of debate among scholars. John Caspall, in Fire and Light in the Home speculates that while imposing examples like this in brass may been meant for ecclesiastical use, less ornate examples might have been used domestically simply to provide light in dark corners, of which early homes had many. American (see the photo of the soldered hatch on the underside of the base), possibly as early as 1790 but more likely dating between 1800 and 1825. 14½” tall. Very good condition. $895
Hexagonal Candle Lantern
in original blue-green paint. Although it certainly spent time outside, possibly in a carriage house, it has so many careful refinements that it’s hard to refer to it as a “barn lantern.” Both top and bottom Atlantic white pine boards are chamfered to reduce apparent thickness; the posts are tenoned through both top and bottom, pegged at the top, wedged from beneath and secured with wood pins at each corner; the posts are subtly molded; a rising and falling glass half pane gives access to the square nailed sheet iron candle socket. Of course, nothing survives 175 years without a flesh wound or two: the top has a narrow heat crack, two posts have sheared off even with the top surface, and the underside of one corner is chipped. Ca. 1825-1865, probably Eastern U.S. 13”H and 4” on a side. $1,550
Unique Mirrored 19th C. Sconces
A pair of mid-1800s candle sconces that absolutely merit the term "rare." The antiques world is full of mirrored sconces; most are reproductions, a very few are genuinely of the period, but I know of none of unimpeachable authenticity and also attributable to a specific maker. These sconces may be the only ones. Isaac Frink made these probably between 1857 and 1866 and each carries his brass signature medallion on the back. All the mirror segments are original. Neither sconce has any repairs or restoration. Utterly amazing. 10" diameter. 13" overall height. Additional information is available.
Wrought Iron Candleholder
With Wooden X-Base
In the world of truly early lighting, this is a fairly rare piece. It’s what lighting scholar John Caspall termed a “corner standard rushnip.” He was referring to 18th English lighting used to illuminate dark corners in traditionally under-lit homes. But this combination rushlight and candleholder has a spoke shaved white pine shaft standing on an X-form base of American white oak. 32” high and 15” across the base. The wrought iron element has a twistwork passage in the stem and the rushlight’s jaws are counterweighted by a pivoting arm that terminates in a wrapped cone candle socket. Ca. 1750-1800, found in Cornish, ME, and probably American. $1,895